The Vancouver Titans of the Overwatch League (OWL) took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce that the team has released its entire roster and coaching staff. While no reasons were given for the releases, rumors that a conflict between the team and management is allegedly to blame. Vancouver hasn’t played a match since April 12, but are scheduled to play on both May 9 and 10.
— Vancouver Titans (@VancouverTitans) May 6, 2020
An article by ESPN reported that Vancouver will refurbish its roster by signing five of the eight players from the Contenders team, Second Wind. The players allegedly signing with Vancouver are William “Caden” Loll, Abtin “ShRedLock” Shirvani, Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff, Colin “Higan” Arai and Randal “Roolf” Stark.
Friction between management and players started to build when the Titans roster was moved from its training facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to the players’ home country of South Korea.
Sources have stated the team wanted to be at home where they could spend time with their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen border closures and travel restrictions put into place around the world. However, when the team asked for a training facility and/or a team house to be provided during their stay in South Korea, the request was denied.
With the team competing in matches from South Korea, playing became difficult for Vancouver because of a 16-hour time difference and a discernible difference in ping (the response time from a player’s computer to a server and back). This led to frustration that saw the team discontinue playing matches and boycotting practices.
It was something the parties could not rectify and they finally parted ways.
“Our initial plan was for the team to join the Asian division and continue to play the new schedule from the comfort of players’ homes, but it was quickly apparent that this created a whole new set of challenges,” Tim Holloway, Aquilini Entertainment esports director said in a statement. “The time difference made it difficult for management and the home fanbase to connect with the team and technical challenges for the players playing from home further exacerbated the situation.
Management from Vancouver Titans and the Overwatch League could not be reached for comment.